I love using the Genesis Framework for my WordPress blog and only recommend WordPress themes that are built using it. I’ve made the mistake of using WordPress themes that were not built using the Genesis Framework and that was a huge mistake. My load time was slower, I ran into compatibility issues, and found myself having to edit the actual design code for simple changes. There are a few essential WordPress plugins designed specifically for the Genesis Framework which you should install immediately if you aren’t already using them.
If you’re looking for a WordPress blog theme built on the Genesis Framework I recommend themes from Hello You Designs (my current theme), Restored 316, and Pretty Darn Cute Designs. At one point or another I’ve used each of those designers and I’ve never had a problem with any of their themes. Plus, they are all gorgeous!
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links which help support Honey & Pine.
After you choose a theme and install the Genesis Framework (which is a separate one-time purchase you can get here), I highly recommend installing each of the WordPress plugins below. They make it a lot easier to run Genesis and customizations to your blog are a breeze. If you need help installing the Genesis Framework, I have a post to help you out.
Essential WordPress Plugins for the Genesis Framework
Genesis Simple Hooks
The Genesis Simple Hooks plugin is fabulous! Instead of having to go into your theme editor and modify the design code, you can plug and play code snippets into the various sections in this plugin. I find that I mostly add code snippets to section between <head> and </head> and this makes it so simple. There are hooks for nearly every area imaginable so you can modify your blog code as needed without changing your original theme files.
Genesis eNews Extended
Genesis eNews Extended captures subscriber names and emails so you can build your newsletter list. It’s easy to customize and it works in a lot of different widget spaces. I use it to collect emails in my sidebar and in my blog footer. If you look at the themes available on Restored 316, you’ll see that there is almost always a space on the home page for you to subscribe. This plugin is what she uses to make that happen. Plus, it is easy to set it up to integrate with MailChimp or ConvertKit so you don’t have to use their ugly forms (no offense MailChimp but seriously…).
Genesis Easy Columns
I love the Genesis Easy Columns plugin! It’s one of my favorites because I am all about grids on my blog pages. It’s available for formatting pages and posts so it’s kind of a no-brainer plugin for me.
Genesis Custom Footer
The Genesis Custom Footer plugin lets you easily change the footer credits on your blog. Most themes credit the theme designer and say something similar to “powered by WordPress” or “built on the Genesis Framework”. This plugin lets you change the footer credits to anything you’d like without having to edit the theme code.
Genesis Connect for WooCommerce
I had the Genesis Connect for WooCommerce plugin even before I had a shop. If you have a good theme, odds are it’s compatible with WooCommerce but this plugin makes it super simple to connect everything and activate your store. It’s a must-have before using your shop anyway so you might as well have it at the ready.
Ok, so I know the Genesis 404 plugin take the count up to six plugins but it’s not really essential. In fact, I stopped using it because I switched to the 404 to 301 redirect plugin but this one is fabulous. It allows you to design a custom 404 page so you don’t have to have visitors land on a boring “error” page if they hit a broken link.
If your blog is missing any of those essential WordPress plugins, I recommend installing them asap. If you’re thinking of starting a new blog or hunting for a new theme, start with the Genesis Framework and don’t forget to download your free Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners.
Do you have any other essential WordPress plugins to share?